Three Sisters Casserole
by Adam West
Lots of people make something called Three Sisters Casserole. I usually see them with cheese and corn kernels with crackers on top and such. Mine was just created out of putting together a bunch of stuff I like and making it like a chili-cornbread dish I used to make before I realized I was allergic to tomatoes.
This recipe makes TWO 9″x12″ casseroles.
There are three steps to this:
Make a pot of red beans using a one pound bag. I make my beans overnight in a crock pot, no draining. Just dump them in with the recommended amount of water, about 5 tablespoons of cumin (I love my cumin!), a teaspoon each of chopped garlic, chili powder, paprika, oregano, and sage.
Cook overnight and if you can resist eating them, drain them and set them aside for the casserole. (Halve this amount if you only want one casserole.)
- 1 large brown onion
- 1 large yellow squash
- 1 large white squash
- 1 large zucchini
Substitute butternut, acorn, pumpkin or any other kind of gourd if you like them better. You can do three different ones or three of any one kind. I like the variety.
If only making one casserole, use 2 medium or 3 small gourds and a medium onion. Chop all of these into pieces approximately 1″ cubed. Put in a large mixing bowl or large freezer bag. Toss with 1 teaspoon each of sage, rosemary, basil and paprika (add salt here, to taste, if desired).
Make cornbread according to the basic recipe on the box of corn meal. I prefer this method instead of a “cornbread mix” because you can know exactly what’s in it and how much. If making only one casserole, cut the recipe in half. Substitute almond meal for the flour to make this gluten free. Use a vegan alternative to the eggs and milk to make this whole recipe vegan.
Set your cornbread batter aside.
Lightly oil two (2) 9″x12″ casserole dishes. Divide the beans evenly and spread along the bottom of the casserole dishes. Divide the veggies evenly and spread them on top of the beans. Lightly spoon half of the cornbread batter over the top of each dish.
Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, or until cornbread is golden brown and a fork comes out clean.
For less healthy options:
Add browned chorizo, browned ground beef or grilled chicken between the beans and veggies. A half pound for each dish should be enough.
Stir a cup of shredded cheese into the cornbread batter before spooning over the casserole.
Adam West is a Choctaw, born in Oklahoma and now at home in Los Angeles. He is a costume designer and costumer for theatre, film and television, as well as an amateur experimental cook. He likes to make way too much food and share it with friends, or if it’s really good, just eat it for every meal the whole week. His favorite spice is cumin and believes it should be added by the 1/4 cup to any recipe worth making.
Thank you, Adam. This sounds delicious! For those who may not be familiar with the “three sisters”, this is a Native American agricultural tradition of planting beans, corn and squash together on the same mounds. Read more here.